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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
MLG CG mentors corporals

By Marti Gatlin | | June 2, 2011

To help her corporals improve their leadership skills as well as advance their careers, Maj. Gen. Tracy L. Garrett, commanding general, 4th Marine Logistics Group, New Orleans, visited here and mentored 52 of them, May 25.

Garrett met with the noncommissioned officers during their two-week resident corporals’ course that began May 22 at Detachment 2, Supply Company, 4th Supply Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, here. The corporals’ course is considered a part of the Marine Corps’ professional military education and a stepping stone for those NCOs to advance to the rank of sergeant.

She outlined the young Marine Reservists’ roles as NCOs, reiterated their learning is constant and encouraged the young Marines to take charge of their careers.

“Your starting in the corporals’ course is a way of becoming more of a leader than one who is led,” she said. “All of us are leaders to some degree,

but when you become an NCO you become a leader of other Marines in a very distinct way. The Marine Corps has an obligation to give you the tools you need to be a good leader and that’s what the corporals’ course should be doing for you.”

PME offers experience and practice of being a good leader, Garrett said.

Garrett answered questions from the Marines and discussed the possible roles the reservists might face in the future. She explained that she believed the reserves in the future would continue doing the types of activities they have been doing like participating in training exercises in various countries as well as providing humanitarian and natural disaster support.

She also stressed the corporals should nurture professional relationships during their careers.

“You will certainly learn from the instructors,” Garrett said. “You will also learn from each other. Over the years, your peer group will be a wonderful resource for you in maturing your thinking, enhancing your leadership, giving you the gouge, so your peer group is something you must try to cultivate.

She also met with the instructors and other Det. 2 personnel after talking to the corporals.

Accompanying Garrett was Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker, group sergeant major, 4th MLG, who spoke to the corporals the day before Garrett’s visit.

“I’m proud to be your sergeant major,” he said, noting he was proud of the NCOs who would continue the Marine Corps’ legacy.

Booker encouraged the NCOs to make recommendations to make the corporals’ course better and to strengthen their leadership abilities.

In response to questions from the corporals, both Garrett and Booker talked about the Marine Corps’ active-duty force structure eventually shrinking from 202,000 to 187,000. The reserves, they said, will stay the same at 39,600.

“All those who are leaving active duty who love being Marines want (the reserve slots) so the competition for billets in the reserve units is going to go way up and the quality of the reserves is also going way up,” Garrett said.

Corporals’ course student, Cpl. Rebekah Fields, 21, from Astoria, Ore., administrative specialist, 6th Engineer Support Battalion Headquarters, was able to meet the major general who signed her promotion warrant.

“She signed my meritorious corporal promotion warrant last September,” Fields said. “It’s not that often corporals get to meet a two-star general. She takes the time to come and talk to us as the NCOs under her shows that she cares how well the next generation of leadership is growing up underneath her command.”

Another student, Cpl. Jason Connell’s goal is to eventually apply for the warrant officer program. He inquired of Garrett about the path he needed to take and what he needed to do to be able to put in his package for the program.

“It was a great opportunity to be able to ask a leader such as the major general a question like that and be able to hear directly from her,” said the 35-year-old bulk fuelman from Phoenix, who serves with Bulk Fuel Company C, 6th ESB. “I think the biggest thing was just having her reiterate the importance of leadership and professional development classes such as this to help young leaders become better NCOs and be able to take this back to the unit and help their junior Marines.”

One of five corporals’ course instructors, Sgt. Elizabeth Barnes, found Garrett’s comments informative and felt the corporals appreciated her time with them.

“I was interested too when they asked her questions (about how our mission could change) and she expected it could be more humanitarian and I thought that made a lot sense with everything going on around the world,” said the 25-year-old reservist from Homer, N.Y., who serves here with Det. 2.

Barnes portrayed Garrett as inspiring especially given the major general’s rank and many years serving in the Marine Corps.

“She’s smart,” the sergeant said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I was impressed. Obviously, she spoke awesomely, carried herself so well.”

Fellow instructor Sgt. Trenton Mize, 26, from Gainsville, Fla., supply admin, was glad the commanding general elaborated about the restructuring of the Marine Corps as well as other issues facing the active duty and reserve components.

“I think she made a good mentoring example for (the corporals),” he said. “She seems to be very caring about her troops and you can tell she wants to do right for all her troops in her command and all Marines.”